Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nonduality Highlights each day

How to submit material to the Highlights

#3167 - Thursday, May 15, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

Nonduality Highlights - 



About ten years ago I collected the sayings of Nisargadatta Maharaj from his book "I Am That" in which he referred to "I Am." It is located at I also edited sayings that I said were "beyond I am":  

Now friend Andy tells me about the remarkable document featured today. It is entitled I AM: The Complete I Am quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, edited by Pradeep Apte. The collection consists of 572 "I Am" quotations. You may read it at


The complete ‘I am’ quotes of

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Dedicated to my Guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Pradeep Apte

These quotes have been compiled from ten books that cover almost

all the dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:

1. I Am That edited by Maurice Frydman

2. Seeds of Consciousness edited by Jean Dunn

3. Prior to Consciousness edited by Jean Dunn

4. Consciousness and the Absolute edited by Jean Dunn

5. The Experience of Nothingness edited by Robert Powell

6. The Nectar of Immortality edited by Robert Powell

7. The Ultimate Medicine edited by Robert Powell

8. Beyond Freedom edited by Maria Jory

9. I am Unborn edited by Pradeep Apte

10. Gleanings from Nisargadatta edited by Mark West


Other works that are mostly expositions of his teachings like: The

Blissful life by Robert Powell, Pointers from Nisargadatta

Maharaj by Ramesh Balsekar, I Am That I Am by Stephen

Wolinsky, Song of I Am edited by Jerry Katz and the ASMI – I Am

That excerpts compiled and edited by Miguel-Angel Carrasco have

not been referred to.


Apart from his teachings, all these texts give a lot of information

on Shri Nisragadatta Maharaj. Some other books that may also be

of interest are: The Wisdom teachings of Nisargatta Maharaj: A

visual journey published by Innerdirections, The Last days of Sri

Nisargadatta Maharaj published by Yogi impressions and Self

Knowledge and Self Realization by Nisargadatta Maharaj, edited

by Jean Dunn.


This collection of all the ‘I am’ quotes of Shri Nisargadatta

Maharaj have been prepared to be used as a device to get focused

on the ‘I am’. Most of these quotes are as such, while some have

been prepared by resorting to concatenations for maintaining the ‘I

am’ theme during a dialogue session.




Was it not the sense of ‘I am’ that came first? Some seed

consciousness must be existing even during sleep, or swoon. On

waking up the experience runs: ‘I am-the body- in the world’. It

may appear to arise in succession but in fact it is all simultaneous,

a single idea of having a body in a world. Can there be the sense of

‘I am’ without being somebody or other?


Go deep into the sense of ‘I am’ and you will find. How do you

find a thing you have mislaid or forgotten? You keep it in your

mind until you recall it. The sense of being, of ‘I am’ is the first to

emerge. Ask yourself whence it comes or just watch it quietly.

When the mind stays in the ‘I am’, without moving, you enter a

state, which cannot be verbalized, but which can be experienced.

All you need to do is to try and try again. After all the sense of ‘I

am’ is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things

to it- body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, possessions and so on. All

these self-identifications are misleading, because of these you take

yourself to be what you are not.


The ‘I am’ is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what

to seek. Just have a good look at it. Once you are convinced that

you cannot say truthfully about yourself anything except ‘I am’,

and that nothing can be pointed at, can be your self, the need for

the ‘I am’ is over- you are no longer intent on verbalizing what you

are. All definitions apply to your body only and to its expressions.

Once this obsession with the body goes, you will revert to your

natural state. We discover the natural state by being earnest, by

searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one’s

life to this discovery.


What makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence, I

am real for I am always ‘now’, in the present, and what is with me

now shares in my reality. The past is in memory, the future – in

imagination. There is nothing in the present event itself that makes

it stand out as real. A thing focused in the now is with me, for I am

ever present, it is my own reality that I impart to the present event.


Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought ‘I am’. The mind will

rebel in the beginning, but with patience and perseverance it will

yield and keep quiet. Once you are quiet, things will begin to

happen spontaneously and quite naturally, without any interference

on your part.


To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and

transient is freedom, peace and joy. It is all very simple. Instead of

seeing things as imagined, learn to see them as they are. When you

can see everything as it is, you will also see yourself as you are. It

is like cleansing a mirror. The same mirror that shows you the

world as it is will also show you your own face. The thought ‘I am’

is the polishing cloth. Use it.


Why not turn away from the experience to the experiencer and

realize the full import of the only true statement you can make: ‘I

am’. Just keep in mind the feeling ‘I am’, merge in it, till your

mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will

stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your

mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling ‘I am’.

Whatever you think, say or do, this sense of immutable and

affectionate being remains as the ever-present background of the



Do not bother about anything you want, or think, or do, just stay

put in the thought and feeling, ‘I am’, focusing ‘I am’ firmly in

your mind. All kinds of experience may come to you – remain

unmoved in the knowledge that all perceivable is transient and

only the ‘I am’ endures.


No way to self-realization is short or long, but some people are

more in earnest and some are less. I can tell you about myself. I

was a simple man, but I trusted my Guru. What he told me to do, I

did. He told me to concentrate on ‘I am’ – I did. He told me that I

am beyond all perceivables and conceivables – I believed. I gave

my heart and soul, my entire attention and the whole of my spare

time (I had to work to keep my family alive). As a result of faith

and earnest application, I realized my self (‘swarupa’) within three

years. You may choose any way that suits you; your earnestness

will determine the rate of progress. Establish yourself firmly in the

awareness of ‘I am’. This is the beginning and also the end of all



To know what you are you must first investigate and know what

you are not. And to know what you are not, you must watch

yourself carefully, rejecting all that does not necessarily go with

basic fact ‘I am’. The ideas: I am born at a given place, at a given

time, from my parents and now I am so-and-so, living at, married

to, father of, employed by, and so on, are not inherent in the sense

‘I am’. Our usual attitude is ‘I am this’ or ‘that’. Separate

consistently and perseveringly the ‘I am’ from ‘this’ or ‘that’ and

try to feel what it means to be, just to ‘be’, without being ‘this’ or

‘that’. All our habits go against it and the task of fighting them is

long and hard sometimes, but clear understanding helps a lot. The

clearer you understand that on the level of the mind you can be

described in negative terms only, the quicker you will come to the

end of your search and realize your limitless being.


When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart

from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The

light by which you see the world, which is God is the tiny little

spark: ‘I am’, apparently so small and yet the first and the last in

every act of knowing and loving.


All is secondary to the tiny little thing which is the ‘I am’. Without

the ‘I am’ there is nothing. All knowledge is about the ‘I am’.

False ideas about this ‘I am’ lead to bondage, right knowledge

leads to freedom and happiness. The ‘I am’ denotes the inner while

‘there is’ denotes the outer; both are based on the sense of being.


The sense of ‘I am’ is your own. You cannot part with it, but you

can impart it to anything, as in saying, I am young; I am rich, and

so on. But such self-identifications are patently false and the cause

of bondage.

Read the full manuscript at

top of page